It is about time that Fullmer got his due as a fighter. He appears clumsy. He is not. He is, rather, graceless. Gene is an adaptable, resourceful and intelligent fighter who has what Cus D'Amato calls "a calculated aggressiveness." McNeeley is aggressive, too, but his is random and unreliable and finally unimportant. That is the difference between a fighter and a McNeeley. There is, too, a great deal of strategy in a Fullmer fight. Marv Jenson, his manager, shouts up a string of numbers—"30, 30-12, 8-12"—which are meaningful to Fullmer; "8-12," for instance, might mean a left uppercut. But Gene didn't have much opportunity to fight by the numbers against Paret. "I didn't have time to think what I wanted to do," he said later. "I had to do what I had to do."
The fight was relatively even for the first five rounds while Paret still had his strength. The action took place almost solely against the ropes, with Gene chopping at Benny with his ponderous downward blows and Paret insolently rallying from time to time. Just as it began to be tedious, Fullmer took charge. Paret's flurries became feebler and more infrequent. He took an astonishing sequence of punches. In the ninth it appeared that he would cave in several times from the methodical alternation of blows to the head. It was like that curious moment when a falling tree seems to hang suspended before crashing to the forest floor. "He can't take that all day," Gene said in his dressing room, "but I thought he was going to. I let him throw for a few punches to get it out of his system."
Down went Benny
At the start of the 10th round Gene hit Benny with a good left hook on the jaw. Moments later, apparently without the impact of a violent punch, Paret skidded backwards across the ring into a neutral corner, one glove briefly touching the ground for balance. Referee Harry Krause called it a knockdown and then, bemused, gave Paret the benefit of a mandatory eight count, a rule that had been waived. Fullmer very shortly knocked Paret down again with the last of a series of terrible rights. Benny arose at six. A right hand-and a left push, and he drifted slowly and softly as a snowfall into Fullmer's corner, his head almost resting on the lowest turnbuckle. He reclined there like Mme. R�camier, only there was no languor here. He was rigid and quivering as Krause counted him out.
The night before, Sugar Ray Robinson had knocked out Wilfie Greaves in the eighth round at Pittsburgh. Robinson felt that this imposing achievement entitled him to yet another go at Fullmer. But Gene, who has had his run-ins with Ray, says with casual bitterness: "The hell with Robinson. I don't owe him nothing. I'd like to fight him—in the gym. I don't want to give him the satisfaction of making any money."